San Francisco: In a shocking incident, pro-Khalistan agitators attacked and abused Indian journalist Lalit K Jha in San Francisco. A video of the incident shows Khalistani protesters berating the Indian government and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Lalit Jha himself tweeted about the incident and thanked U.S. intelligence for protecting him.
Khalistan supporters threaten Indian embassy in US, video surfaces— ANI Digital (@ani_digital) March 26, 2023
Read @ANI Story | https://t.co/9OliLoQQhw#IndianJournalist #IndianEmbassy #Washington #Khalistan #US #India #Amritpal #threaten #IndianEnvoy pic.twitter.com/PqV9X4a3No
In one of his tweets, Lalit Jha wrote, “Thank you to Secret Service for protecting me at work today, otherwise I would be writing this from the hospital.” He also described being struck twice on the left ear with batons and called 911. Two police vehicles immediately came to his aid, as he feared physical violence.
The Indian Embassy in America condemned the violence against Lalit Jha in a statement posted on its website. The embassy received a report of harassment, intimidation and physical violence against a senior Indian journalist from the Press Trust of India who was covering the alleged ‘Khalistan protest’ in Washington DC.
Thank you @SecretService 4 my protection 2day 4 helping do my job, otherwise I would have been writing this from hospital. The gentleman below hit my left ear with these 2 sticks & earlier I had to call 9/11 & rushed 2 police van 4 safety fearing physical assault👇. pic.twitter.com/IVcCeP5BPG— Lalit K Jha ललित के झा (@lalitkjha) March 25, 2023
According to the Embassy, the journalist was first verbally threatened and then physically assaulted. The embassy condemned the “serious and unwarranted attack” on a senior journalist and said that such activities reveal the violent and anti-social nature of the so-called ‘Khalistani protesters’ and their supporters, who are often prone to violence and vandalism. The embassy thanked the police for their quick assistance in this matter.
The attack on @lalitkjha reminds me of a close call my father and I had when we ran into Khalistan supporters a few years ago. The malice and aggression seems innate to the Khalistan movement. https://t.co/Y18OXYPUgX pic.twitter.com/1hsB1C24hu— Rajiv Pandit (@rajiv_pandit) March 26, 2023
Indian American MP Ro Khanna also condemned the incident, calling it “reprehensible” and an “attack on journalism” He thanked security authorities for protecting the embassy and Lalit Jha.
The incident highlights the importance of protecting journalists who are subjected to threats and violence in the course of their work, and the importance of condemning such incidents in order to preserve press freedom.